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Deck casters...your thoughts

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by RyGuyusMaximus, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. RyGuyusMaximus

    RyGuyusMaximus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Does anyone own a mower with front mounted-outside deck casters? And if so have they saved you from a scalp or two? ...By "caster" I mean the kind that rotate (not the fixed ones) to meet the direction of the ground just like the main support casters.

    I'm asking because I've used mowers with out that kind of floating deck protection and as a result I've scalped a lawn or two in the past and I'm planning on buying a mower in the spring that does not come with them.
  2. tb8100

    tb8100 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from TX
    Messages: 1,625

    hmm...Kubotas have these don't they?
  3. John Gamba

    John Gamba LawnSite Fanatic
    from ct
    Messages: 10,812

    Why do they not have them
  4. tb8100

    tb8100 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from TX
    Messages: 1,625

    Off the top of my head, a swiveling caster may help protect against hitting a high spot when turning...
  5. kjslawn

    kjslawn LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 618

    I thought alot about this I think every fix deck could use a caster wheel on each side.If I had the money to experiment with it I would. but I am broke. I wish the big companys would spend some of there developmnet $$$ on the scalping.
  6. Swampy

    Swampy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,435

    Assuming you talking a out front something like this right?

    The front wheels are there for stabillty of the deck, so when you travel faster there is less bouncing motion, they are there for adjusting cut height, also they work with the float function with out fronts contouring with the land.

    You going to run into problems like your belly mounted ZTR's like scaling the tops of berms. Also you its easier to get stuck in the bottom of ditches if you hit them straight on. They are generally less effective then a ZTR, they are slower, and your going to have to do Y turns. If your going down hill make sure that deck is in the down position, if its not your going to do a endo (rear wheels will leave the ground) with the mower.

    The advantages of that style of mower is that its safer than a ZTR's, by wider stances, lower center of gravity, deck size, dealing with PITA pine trees,generally built heavier than a ZTR, and 4wd options. When you have a hilly terrain sometime mowing sideway on a berm or hill is unavoidable, thus the wider stance and lower center of gravity are a plus over a ZTR. Your options of deck sizes will increase, like the model pictured above I know of 3 different offset deck sizes available 62in, 72in, 84in which will help with those low hanging branches of pine trees with no beds underneath to just do kind of a jabbing motion or circling the tree. I'm might be comparing apples to oranges, but comparing a Toro ZTR to a Toro 300 series here but out fronts are built to handle more rugged terrain than ZTR's when you compare the two next to each other. They also have the option of being 4wd which is always great when ruff cutting with it, or when you hit a swampy area in the lawn(if that happens you can easily raise the deck to give you more traction over a ZTR. Even if you have a 2wd model it will add more weight over the drive tires.

    In my opinion is that every LCO out there can have a fleet of ZTR's and Standers, but should always have a least a few out fronts to better service their properties.

    Hope this helps.
  7. GravelyNut

    GravelyNut LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,594

    Gravely will sell you a set of caster wheels to go on the outside of of a ZTR deck if you have a 250Z, 260Z, 272 with the older style decks. They do help and make it easier to turn if you have the deck set low.
  8. lawnMaster5000

    lawnMaster5000 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 591

    That was a standard on Gravely units. They removed the caster b/c they were having problems of the casters coming apart and the rollers would get run over by the deck. It was removed for safety reasons.

    We had it happen, the roller wheel shot about 100+ yards across the property from under the deck.

    I assume if they designed it a little different it would be 100% safe.
  9. tb8100

    tb8100 LawnSite Bronze Member
    from TX
    Messages: 1,625

    He's talking about a midmount Z. Kubota has them on their 60" and 72" decks also:



    Shoot, they can't hurt! Anything to prevent scalpage.

    One feature Bad Boy Mowers have is an optional foot-assist pedal that works in addition to their electric deck lift, so you can just stomp the pedal and lift the deck on the fly if you see a high spot coming, and release it afterwards and it goes back down to your preset cutting height. It would be nice if they had these swivel casters, but they aren't a necessity- just added insurance.
  10. RyGuyusMaximus

    RyGuyusMaximus LawnSite Member
    Messages: 88

    Yes a swivel caster, that is exactly what i was talking about.

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